Hayden keeping it cool

As someone who displays a minimum of fuss and commotion when doing his job on the pitch, Hayden Mullins is, not surprisingly, just as level-headed when it comes to talking about West Ham United's chances of success this season.

The Hammers midfielder has played a key role in the winning run that reached seven games following our 3-0 victory over Birmingham City on Monday night but, despite the win leaving Alan Pardew's team just four points off fourth-placed Tottenham, he isn't getting over-excited about the situation.

"We're on a great run at the moment, but no one here is getting carried away, and the gaffer keeps emphasising the importance of staying focused and working hard," says Hayden.

"There is nothing wrong with being confident, but we have to be careful not to let that slip into complacency, because any team in the Premiership will give you a shock if you start to believe that the job is done.

"We've done well so far, but there could be a lot more to achieve if we keep our heads on our shoulders and continue to work as hard as we have done so far this season."

A slight back injury sustained early on against the Blues on Monday night forced Hayden off at half-time, but the 26-year-old is confident of returning for the FA Cup fifth round tie at Bolton Wanderers this weekend, news that will certainly boost Alan Pardew.

With the likes of Nigel Reo-Coker, Anton Ferdinand and Matthew Etherington all being tipped for call-ups to the full England squad recently, it was left to the Hammers boss to put forward the case for the player he has described as the 'unsung hero' of his team, and Hayden admits he is enjoying the most consistent spell of his Upton Park career since arriving from Crystal Palace in October 2003.

"It's nice to be recognised by the manager and I'm grateful for his comments," he says. "I play in a position that requires a bit more discipline and I don't get the chance to grab the headlines that often, so

"Whenever a team is doing well in the Premiership, it's pretty normal for some of the players to be linked with international call-ups, or the manager to be linked with jobs elsewhere, but it's not really something that you can think about too deeply.

"At the moment, I'm just enjoying my game at West Ham. I had a good run towards the end of last season in the centre of midfield and it was important to me that I carried on the momentum when we got into the Premiership.

"I haven't had a full season in the centre of midfield since I was about 18 or 19, so fingers crossed, I can stay put in the future. After years of filling holes and playing in various different positions, I feel my game has become more consistent in the past few months, and long may it continue."